Third or more surname not equal to aka

+2 votes


I find the use of the aka (also known as) function misleading. Is aka not used for aliases only? I have a number of family members that have been married more than two times, and as such require an additional ‘formerly’ option instead of the ‘aka’ option. Example:

Mrs Catherina Maria Petronella "Tassie" Dearlove formerly Botes aka Liebenberg

Should be:

Mrs Catherina Maria Petronella  Dearlove formerly Botes formerly Liebenberg aka "Tassie"



in WikiTree Tech by Wynand Van Der Walt G2G2 (2.3k points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
Best answer


The use of AKA that I am accustomed to, and the one defined in wikipedia ( is that a.k.a can be used for any additional names a person is known by including aliases, maiden names, nicknames, psudonyms, etc. It encompasses all names that a person has also been known as... not just aliases, and not just previous surnames.

While I agree that your version conveys more information at a glance (for example the sequence of marriages) I do not agree that the existing format is misleading although it certainly does have its limitations.

In the big scheme of things I think it would be very difficult to develop a system that can handle every desired variation in presenting names. Using a different example of using the name fields 'as intended' might result in a 'comprehensive' display name of:

Mr. William Henry (Billy) "Billy the Kid, The Kid, Kid" Bonney Jr. formerly McCarty aka Antrim

This display could be said to be misleading because, while he was born William Henry McCarty Jr. he assumed the name William H Bonney and as best as I am aware the meaning of the H. in his assumed name was never specified, although it is commonly inferred it stood for Henry because of his birth name. He was McCarty Jr., not Bonney Jr. (although his father's identity is a subject of historical debate) which means the suffix follows the incorrect surname. This rendering also does not convey that when he went by the surname Antrim, he used his middle name Henry or the nickname Kid (not "the Kid" which is associated with him as William H. Bonney). Billy the Kid was similarly an alias specific to his assumed name William H. Bonney. To convey all these details would arguably require a rendering similar to the following:

William H. (Billy) Bonney formerly (Henry) Antrim formerly William Henry McCarty Jr. aka "Billy the Kid" aka "The Kid" aka "Kid" Antrim

alternatively to increase clarity on when the various sobriquets were used:

William H. (Billy) Bonney aka "Billy the Kid" aka "The Kid" formerly (Henry) "Kid" Antrim formerly William Henry McCarty Jr.

For my part I think the existing system works well enough as is, even if there is some room for improvement.

by Rob Ton G2G6 Pilot (274k points)
selected by Wynand Van Der Walt
+1 vote
Do you have anything placed in the "ALIAS" feild ?

You need to put all the married surnames in the CURRENT LAST NAME feild .
by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (820k points)
Yes I do. I have the first married surname in the 'other surname' field which is translated as the aka entry. In my opinion it would make more sense to have the 'other surname' field translate to an additional 'formerly' field.

Consider that I have one family member who was married three times and therfor an additional last surname option is required.

The nickname might then refer to the 'aka' entry.
Also in terms of your proposal, I do not think that one should have multiple last names in a single field. I can only assume that it can lead to confusion and "new' surnames bsaed on a concatanation of multiple entries.

I know I have done but it may not be the right thing to do with other married names.

My practice is to put the current last name (or last name at death)  in the Current Last Name field and put others sequentially, separated by a comma, in the Other Last Name field.

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